...if we remain silent today, then history will not forgive us

Shri Rahul Gandhi addressed the media at AICC Hdqrs. on August 5, 2022.

Shri Rahul Gandhi said- What we are witnessing is the death of democracy, that’s what India is witnessing. What India has built brick-by-brick, starting almost a century ago, is basically being destroyed in front of your eyes. Whatever this country built in 70 years has been destroyed within 8 years. There is no democracy in India today instead there exists a Dictatorship of a few. All of you know it, the whole of India knows it. Anybody who stands against this idea of the onset of dictatorship, doesn’t matter who he is, where he comes from, which state, which religion, male-female, he is viciously attacked, put in jail, arrested, beaten up.

The Idea is that people’s issues, whether they are price rise, unemployment, violence in society; people’s issues must not be raised that is the sole agenda of the government and the government is being run to protect the interest of 4 or 5 people.

Shri Ashok Gehlot said, “Are you getting what Rahul Ji has been saying about the situation in the country? No one could have imagined that the time would come when people would have to be witness to the end of democracy. There is no one to listen to you regarding any problem - be it inflation, unemployment, GST or whatever else is happening inside the country. This is happening for the first time. You see that at a time when the Parliament is operative, you are calling Kharge sahib and Sonia ji. That’s why I had said that day that there is terror of ED in the country. ED, Income Tax, CBI, we went under the leadership of Rahul ji. There outside the CBI office, at two o’clock in the night, quite contrary to its nature, for the first time the police were raiding the CBI instead of the CBI raiding the police!

Whatever is happening in the country is a dangerous game. Democracy is coming to an end. Now, the time has come that the people will also have to come forward. Congress has started the movement, opposition parties are doing it, people need to support us in whatever capacity they can – through their own social organizations, NGOs, activists – people will have to stand against the government in some way or the other. I would like to request that.

Today this call that has been raised within the whole country, people are getting to feel one with it – about huge inflation that is there, unemployment that is causing an outcry among the youth. You are being witness to the everyday developments of outcry that are taking place due to GST. So, the time has come for the media to show some courage.

What Martin Nimöller had said, when Germany was under Hitler’s dictatorship and the opposition, intellectuals, social workers, journalists started targeting the minority, the people there kept silent, thinking that it was a political fight. The people there had to repent a lot in 1945, when Germany was completely ruined due to the running of Hitler’s dictatorship. Had the voice of democracy been raised in time, the whole country would not have been ruined. There are many things that remain to be said and I have already said many of them. What I mean to say is that if we remain silent today, then history will not forgive us.

I will end by saying one thing. It was the era of Pandit Nehru. I want to remind Modi ji and his masters of the RSS. I will conclude by reading a paragraph: “I have just hoisted the National Flag of India”, Pandit Nehru is saying, “I have hoisted it now” In 1929, meaning the first time he had hoisted it. “What is the meaning of this flag - it is one of the symbols of India’s independence, it is a symbol of the unity of India, but remember, when the flag of any country is hoisted, it is not allowed to be brought down, for as long as there is even a single person alive in the country. Today, you people have gathered on this occasion, when the National Congress is holding its most important session, it is going to take a big step forward in the fight for the freedom of the country”, says Pandit Nehru. “Today, when you have hoisted a flag, are you not burning with the resolve that it will not be allowed to be brought down? I want you to take this pledge, that you will have all the power to protect this flag and that you will be ready to sacrifice your life for the sake of freedom. The flag under which you and I are standing today, which you have just saluted, does not belong to any one tribe, it is the flag of this country. So far, if you have worked for a particular community while harming the country, then you were at fault. Those people who are standing under this flag today are Hindustani, neither Hindus, nor Muslims, but Hindustani. The volunteers who have saluted this flag today will have to be ready to lay down their lives to honor it. Remember one thing again that as long as this flag is unfurled, it must not be brought down till even a single Indian man, woman or child is alive in India.”

In 1929, Pandit Nehru Ji had hoisted the flag for the first time. They (BJP) are celebrating ‘Amrit Mahotsav’. Have these people ever talked about the flag in 75 years? Whose achievement has it been in 75 years, is there any talk of that? The country is gradually getting to understand what do you want, in which direction do you want to take the country, so, I would like to say that this problem before us is a challenging one. We all have to come forward. This is my request.

In answer to a question, what is the reason that the government cannot be brought under pressure? Shri Rahul Gandhi said that like I said earlier that the opposition who fights in democracy, fights on the strength of the institution, which means the legal structure of the country, the judicial structure of the country, the electoral structure of the country. The opposition stands on the strength of the media of the country. All those institutions are giving full support to the government. Why, because the government has infiltrated its people inside those institutions. Not every institution in India is independent today. Today, every institution in India is under the control of RSS. One RSS person is sitting in every institution. So, we are not fighting a political party. We are fighting against the entire infrastructure of India. When we had our government, infrastructure was neutral. We did not control the infrastructure. Two political parties used to fight or three political parties used to fight among themselves. Today the entire infrastructure of the government is with one party only. The financial infrastructure is with them. If anyone wants to support another political party, then the ED or the CBI are sent after them. They are threatened and intimidated. So, there is financial monopoly of the BJP and that of the RSS. There is institutional Monopoly. That is why, the opposition is being raised effectively and aggressively, but the impact which should be there is not visible.

On another question that the Finance-Minister said that inflation is happening but not so much? Shri Rahul Gandhi said that this is just completely nonsense. Today, there is the highest unemployment in India, inflation is ever-increasing, the prices of gas cylinders have been increasing. I don’t know, maybe the Finance-Minister is not seeing these figures or she has been instructed to just keep talking. But this is not the reality. You go to any town, go to any village, go to any city and ask what is the condition of inflation, everyone will tell you that it is the highest inflation today. So, see, the reality is one and the perception is one. They say that ‘Startup India’ has done a complete transformation. You show me where is ‘Startup India’? Startup India is firing people, kicking out startups, throwing people on the road. No one died in India from Covid? The Health Minister will tell you that India’s performance had been better than all the other countries of the world. The UN is telling you that 5 million people have died. The government of India retorts and says that the UN is telling a lie. If you see the case of Gujarat, piles of dead bodies were lying there, in the Ganges you saw - lakhs of people died, but no, the government of India says - this is not the truth. Unemployment is ever-increasing but the government of India says –this is not the truth. Inflation is ever-increasing but the Government of India, their finance minister, says no. The entire communication structure is in their hands.

On another question that you are raising peoples’ issues but the government has unleashed an attack on you, Shri Rahul Gandhi said- I understand one thing very clearly, the more I raise peoples’ issues, the more I tell the truth in front of you, the more I will be attacked by the government, it is a simple thing. You understand this thing - he who is afraid, threatens. What are they afraid of - They are afraid of India’s condition today. They are afraid of what they promised and did not fulfill. They are afraid of inflation, of unemployment. They are afraid of the power of the people. Why are they afraid - because they lie, these people lie for 24 hours - “There is no unemployment, there is no price rice, China has not come”!

On another question that it is constantly being said that inflation is an excuse, your target is ED? Shri Rahul Gandhi said that I want to tell you one thing. I understand that the more I raise the peoples’ issues, the more I talk about inflation, talk about unemployment, talk about communal harmony, the more I will be attacked and I like it Because I learn from attacks. So, the more they attack me, the more I gain. I get great joy when my political opponents attack me. They are not able to understand this. I get great happiness. Because I understand more about the ideas I have and the thoughts I have. I understand more about what Battlefield is. I understand why the fight is happening and it makes me very happy. You do one thing, if you get a chance, go and talk to the ED officer who interrogated me. They will tell you what happened in that room.

In reply to another question, Shri Rahul Gandhi said that not only the Congress party but any person in India, whether non-political or political, film star of any party, if anyone speaks anything against the government, all the institutions get weighed down on them and they are criticized. This is not about the Congress party. But the matter is that the democracy is now a memory in India. It is nothing more and there are consequences to this. You will see, there are going to be devastating consequences to this, because the people of India are not just going to keep quiet.

On a further question, Shri Rahul Gandhi said- Question all you want. There is absolutely nothing there, everybody knows it. So, question all you want. My job is to resist the idea of the RSS, that’s my job and I am going to do it. The more I do it, the more I will be attacked, the harder I will be attacked, I am happy, attack me.

On another question that Smt. Sonia Gandhi said that I am Late Smt. Indira Gandhi’s daughter-in-law, I am not afraid of anyone, you said that I am not afraid of Narendra Modi. Is Narendra Modi ji intimidating you? Shri Rahul Gandhi said that I told you - there is no fear. If they try to scare me, they will keep doing it, no matter what, but that does not matter to me at all. Understand one thing, why do they attack Gandhi family - They attack Gandhi family because we fight for one ideology and there are crores of people in the country like ours. We fight for democracy. We fight for communal harmony and have been fighting for years. Not only did I do this, it has been happening for years. My family members have laid their lives. It is our responsibility. You may say whatever you want because we fight for these ideologies. When India is divided. When Hindus and Muslims are brought to fight, we feel pain. When someone is wrongly beaten, thrashed, we feel pain. When a woman is beaten up, we feel pain. That’s why we fight. This is not a family. It is an ideology.

In reply to another question, Shri Rahul Gandhi said that yes, Hitler also came to power after winning the election. How did Hitler win elections - Hitler used to win the elections as entire institutional structure of Germany was in his hands. He had the SA, the paramilitary force, he had the complete set-up. Give me the complete (neutral) structure, then I will show you how to win an election.

On another question, Shri Rahul Gandhi said- I think, the macro-economic fundamentals she is talking about, is something else. I don’t think the Finance-Minister has any understanding of what is going on in the economy of India- zero understanding. She is there as a mouthpiece. She has absolutely no understanding. If she had understating, we would not be in the situation, where in the entire job creation system of India has been destroyed, small and medium businesses have been wiped out. We have a GST, which is a disaster. Price rising across the board and the Finance-Minister is saying- there is no problem.

Shri Gehlot said that what you said that Rahul Gandhi ji, the Gandhi family, has given neither Prime Minister, nor Chief Minister, nor has been in any post for 32 years, then why is Modi ji afraid, answer it.

Extracts of the Press Briefing on August 5, 2022